Mast O Khiar/Iranian Cold Cucumber Soup

Despite the threat of rain it’s beginning to feel humid. And it feels just right to have a bowl of this refreshing cold cucumber soup. The recipe is from the book Pomegranates & Roses by the noted Iranian chef,  Ariana Bundy. I often watch her shows on TV and love her recipes. The first recipe I tried from the book was again to do with yogurt…a yogurt cake.
The rose petals are from my garden. I am now growing a few rose plants in the colours shown below. Since I love edible flowers, I think I’ll get a constant supply of roses from now on.:)

Although the idea came from the book, I made my own version. Some ingredients are not readily available. This recipe serves 4.

400 grams full fat yogurt
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tbs raisins, soaked and chopped
3 tbs toasted walnuts, chopped
Spring onions, chopped
1/2 tsp dried mint
1 tbs chopped fresh mint
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed and chopped
1 tbs dried rose petals to decorate (optional)

Whisk the yogurt with the salt. Then add all the ingredients except the rose petals. Just before serving in individual bowls, sprinkle the rose petals. When the weather gets very hot you can add some ice cubes.
This is a most refreshing soup and just right for our kind of weather. If you want, you could add a bit of powdered sugar or honey. But for me, the sweetness from the raisins was good enough.

I had ordered this book online and it arrived when I was drying some rose petals that had come in a bouquet the previous day, So I couldn’t resist taking this picture!
The recipe in the book uses a mix of  Greek yogurt, full-fat natural yogurt and some sour cream. It also uses some finely chopped tarragon sprigs.
I came across a variation of this recipe in another book…The Moti Mahal Cookbook by Monish Gujral. Here it is named Iranian Raita (Iranian Relish) and made like our Indian raita with the addition of honey, salt, white pepper powder, chopped raisins, roasted and powdered cumin seeds and garnished with chopped coriander. Sounds delicious!

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